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tv   [untitled]    December 21, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm EST

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don't look now but it appears that you all know the u.s. is headed off the fiscal cliff after talks broke down last night congress is headed home for christmas vacation so tonight will shine a light on the one hundred twelfth congress one that's being called the worst ever . and you're usually up tight in a little nervous any time you check into the hospital for surgery but a new study looks at how common medical mistakes are here in the u.s. some of the details in that report might surprise you. and are you one of the millions of people flying over the holidays get ready to be frisked and felt up at the airport but is the t.s.a. really keeping you safe or is this government agency only worried about securing
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their own jobs. it's friday december twenty first eight pm in washington d.c. i'm meghan lopez and you're watching r.t. . well as official we survive the so-called end of the world that is the end of the mayan calendar but while we might have avoided the fireballs in the earthquakes the u.s. is still barreling toward economic calamity with relentless fiscal cliff talks and things didn't improve much last night in fact talks moved back to square one when republican speaker of the house john boehner told his plan the bill from the house floor after failing to garner enough votes from his own party now three months ago to this day i sat at this desk and talked about the numerous bills that congress still needed to pass before the end of the year so let's check on our politicians progress for stuff
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a bill to avoid the proverbial fiscal cliff stopping seaquest ration and preventing what is essentially a congress mandated recession as we know from last night's negotiations that have sucked up so much time and effort that negotiation remains up in the air and what about the national defense authorization act to fund our troops for next year not yet the u.s. house of representatives approved the final version of the bill yesterday but it still must pass through the senate floor before ending up on the president's desk as for the farm bill which supporters say will support things like crop subsidies not even close many say this bill is tied up with fiscal cliff talks and its budget is on the chopping block how about the reform bill to overhaul the cash strapped u.s. postal service big fat no they actually posted a fifteen point nine billion dollars loss for the two thousand and twelve fiscal year and the violence against women act you know the foreign intelligence
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surveillance act nope but this could be pushed through the capitol hill without any discussion about a potential privacy concern so it's a potential yes and then there's this. the mismatch right now between our body else is thinking about these problems democrats and republicans. outside of this town and how folks are operating here and we've just got to get that aligned and we've only got ten days to do it so i hope that every member of congress is thinking about that. nobody can get one hundred percent of what they want and this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. there are real world consequences to what we do here so in case you missed it today about president obama throwing in the towel on fiscal cliff talks with congress until after the holidays he's headed off to why he just left about a half an hour ago so this type of congressional gridlock has one person after
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another calling this the do nothing congress and as our two political correspondent christine for us out discovered this problem is actually getting much much worse. inside the chambers of this powerful dome some of the most important laws of the land have been drawn up debated and eventually etched into the framework of american history by our example the hospice and the measure the civil rights act of one nine hundred sixty he signed at the white house by president johnson but these days the chambers often look like this. that's because in the two years the one hundred twelfth congress has been in session they've been to work in washington less than a third of the time here's a breakdown according to the library of congress is thomas dot gov the u.s. house of representatives spent just one hundred seventy five days in session last year just one hundred thirty days this year the senate this year also did
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legislative work just over one hundred days the entire year according to many members that's because they're busy working back in their districts when i go home . go home to work. go home people who say you're not working you're campaigning work because i don't think i'm campaigning when i'm in my office meeting with elected officials from throughout not just but many point fingers at the other side saying it's their fault nothing gets done if people say this is a do nothing congress i think the house republican leadership has to look themselves in the eye and ask why do they keep asking that the president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what i asked or got seven weeks between election day and the end of the year. and three of those wait weeks have been wasted with with this nonsense according to roll call during the first session of the one hundred twelfth congress the house and senate each passed the fewest number of bills in any congress since at least in one nine hundred forty seven when lawmaking
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activity first started being recorded congress can't even pass bills that are generally passed annually the farm bill which expired september thirtieth has yet to be renewed or extended and there's been some action though in the u.s. house more than sixty bills to rename post offices were introduced members also voted more than thirty times to repeal the affordable care act all the while knowing it would neither be passed by the senate nor signed by the president in the senate seventeen bills that likely would have passed didn't due to the use. filibustering according to the washington post the session is scheduled to close on january third two thousand and thirteen and yet again another important vote is being left until the last minute on the so-called fiscal cliff might not be the history making decision people talk about for decades but the process may well be the legacy of the one hundred twelfth congress of putting politics above people and
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having both sides come up short in the end in washington christine for our team so is the one hundred twelfth congress the true do nothing congress and what do americans really think about their lawmakers according to a new gallup poll a mere eighteen percent of americans approve of the job congress is doing at the moment and those are good numbers for them laurie harshness of the resident dot net went to the streets of the big apple to find out why average americans think congress is doing such a bad job. as many hard working americans look forward to taking a break from the grind so does congress do they deserve a holiday this week let's talk about that we're talking today about congress because they're that take their break right now you're already rolling your eyes i've only just that the word awful it's awful what you can do they don't do anything and they're taking a break well yeah because that's what they do they don't do anything and they're
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going to occasionally do you think that they have been working hard enough to deserve a holiday never and i won't say anymore because it'll be a bad word a bill is going to go and kick the can down the road a little bit for the next year yeah and nothing's going to change something may change but there's going to wind up that we deal with it again next year so you work more than one hundred forty days a year so everyone deserves some time off the extent of it that's another story so yeah i do think they should get a break but with the fiscal cliff being what it is they should probably work through the holiday to achieve do you think that they know what the answer is and that they're just kind of posturing because you know repub. akins have to say that they're not going to raise taxes democrats have to say they're not going to make cuts but at the end of the day they're going to compromise absolutely they have to so what's with this posturing that and other that why don't they just get real. i think part of politics is being reelected and so the politicians need to see their constituents. loyal and sometimes beyond reasonable bounds are we that stupid.
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some people are what's the answer i think the answer is is is more more public scrutiny of their performance more or public involvement in the in the process and does that involve more intelligence public to get involved to a better informed public and a public that is is paying closer attention to what these people are doing so maybe a media that's less bought by corporate interests that keep feeding into the political machine that would be helping the bottom line is know that congress does not deserve a holiday but they probably are going to enjoy more vacation then we commoners could ever imagine so just remember that if you take your measly vacation this year we had a. i'd like to set up a scenario for you and that's and you are in need of some serious medical procedure and that requires you to put your life and your health at the hands of doctors and
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undergo the needle in order to get better for an unspecified amount of time you wake up hours later only to realize that they did the wrong procedure on you it's a fair almost every patient that enters an operating room and sits on that table believes is a viable fear and it's not some urban legend medical accidents things like operating on the wrong person or the wrong body part or even leaving a tool inside of a person's body so those are called never offense never because they're preventable errors that should never happen under any circumstances and yet they do take a look at this according to a report by the surgery journal of objects that are left in patients bodies that happens about thirty nine times a week doctors performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient that happens about twenty times a week and they operate on the wrong body part about twenty times a week as well now earlier today i was joined by peter pronovost senior vice
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president of patient safety at johns hopkins school of medicine who is one of the researchers who contributed to this study and i started off by asking him about these disturbing numbers coming out of the report for the public it almost seems incredulous to say how could we do these brilliant operations that save lives and in most operations go well in the many times in a week in the u.s. not complying was to treat the sick stuff and if you couldn't realize megan that nobody wants this to happen the doctors the nurses the administrators were very hard but they happen i think in part because of the still often. toxic c.t. culture. because we're not using technologies to help prevent this and the report that you contributed to estimated that eighty thousand of these so-called never events have happened over the past two decades and that's a low estimate on what the report says is actually going on so explain how you came
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upon this data and why you think the real number could actually be a lot higher but you're right maybe the gated base that we used to find these is called the national practitioner database and it's a database of liability claims now practice claims in the united states but what's important to recognize is not all of these never events actually lead to a claim indeed the minority probably do some estimates that only one in seven or one in ten claims are events go to. it and not every claim is actually submitted to this database so these numbers are likely a significant underestimate of how often they're happening so like what we know is despite a lot of effort it's been developed to sleep try to reduce these and we really have to refocus our efforts i do have to ask you clear given the number of surgeries that are performed each year is this really this problem really as big as it sounds
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or is it a little bit more than it sounds i mean are we overestimating the syrians what you're actually right the vast vast majority of operations go without any of these new never events happening that most most patients indeed fewer than one percent go on without having a sponge left in or operating on the wrong side of the body and so an absolute percent and it is it's small but three you or the public or your mother is small and isn't good enough hugh have operated on the wrong side of the body or have the wrong procedure it's. and we have to really make sure we work that that never happens again and there's many things that patients can get engaged in to try to help prevent this and it's not necessarily scaffolds that are being left in a person's body as you mentioned it's sponges and things like this this is obviously not exactly a medical sponge but the number one thing that are being that is being left in
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a patient's body is a sponge the number two and three thing as multiple sponges so talk about the impact of leaving something in a person's body and what it actually does well many of these things that will find them when the patient comes back either complaining of some persistent pain or has some signs of infections and afan further foulke we find out that indeed there was this sponge left and the care team would go back in and try and remove the stunt it's generally not difficult to take it out but as you can imagine they're here in the exactly that long period of having peter infections and the operations are quite concerning to patients so let me ask appear when a patient enters the operating room you know they're forced to trust the doctor that is performing the surgery on them i mean is there really any way that
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a patient can protect themselves from becoming a very a victim of this like medical malpractise. yes there's a number of things they can do. one is when they come into the hospital for surgery before they're asleep when they're waiting to go into the operating room they could do a number of things one they should be really clear that they know what operation they're having in what part of the body they're being operated on to as they should make sure that the consent form that they sign a stating in what they are giving permission to do to them exactly matches what they believe in their mind or they have written elsewhere is the operation and three they should make sure that the doctor actually mark arcs the site of where this operation is supposed to happen so if it's my great need or my left shoulder that there's actually a marking so that they go in to do that and those are some strategies to prevent having the wrong operation or the wrong part of your body operated on and peter
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let's go ahead and talk about what the hospitals can do to protect these patients what what are the solutions the hospitals can take something like checklists are increasing communication things like that your apps are xo hospitals are using checklist and they're required by the joint commission but as you can see by these data they have not been particularly effective yet in needs in part that might mean that they're done but there are what we call ritualized compliance that the checklist is just being checked but the people aren't really focused or paying attention and so we need to do a couple things one is work on improving a safety culture and what i mean by that is a culture where people are focused on keeping patients see their comfortable speaking up and questioning each other and to laugh in doctors in yours. just to each other in some other research we did we found that in ninety percent of bad
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events that patients happen these significant errors somebody knew something was wrong but either didn't speak up to be true presumably because they get yelled or they spoke up and they were ignored and that's just too high of a price to pay for poor teamwork in culture compare the study also found that sixty two percent of the surgeons that have performed one of these never events or cited for more than one side were cited more than once on separate malpractise reports i mean what is being done about those doctors and how can a patient ensure that they won't have the wrong person working on well rachel you're absolutely right what we see is the vast majority of physicians perform excellent care but there are some physicians who seem to cluster with these events that they might seem to have a pattern of having more complaints than others having more practice claims than others and that might be a sign of poor power. or
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a sign of random error but what consumers should do is a number of things one make sure that their doctor is board certified it's not a perfect check but it's relatively easy to check most states in the united states . me huntress have websites that you can look up to see if your doctor is board certified you can always ask them to as you can look up if they have significant complaints about their doctor that's affan through state licensing boards in the united states or similar things it into your nationally and they can look up if there is a database of malpractise claims such as this one and sound like right out of worst holly had meghan perhaps most importantly is asked so they should make sure that the doctor does that what they're going to do frequently that for most procedures there is a volume outcome relationship and what in other words what we mean is that the doctors who do more of these tend to do better in just last week meghan i was
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caring for a pee in the intensive care unit that had in a softer geale operation that went terribly wrong and. that. was all that she had it done and it was an edge on top in she was transferred into johns hopkins had done one of those the last year and jan hopkins did over one hundred and i asked her as she spoke to a leading to did the hospital or the doctor tell her that she only they only had performed one and she was taking a greenlee and here's to risk by not going to a hospital that does more of these and she said no she never knew she was at increased risk and so being finding out is this something that the hospital does arfon is a really really important thing. that's a very interesting story and a very interesting point peter obviously you can only trust the people that you whose hands you put your life in and we appreciate you coming on and talking about
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the study of the research that you did that was peter pronovost senior vice president of patient safety at johns hopkins school of medicine well it's that time of year again time to wrap up the christmas gifts have someone sit on your suitcase and you can get it closed and then head to the airport to wait in the never ending security lines but two new developments are coming out of the transportation administration this month first a new government report has painted the agency in a less than favorable light leading some like the washington times to go as far as to say that the t.s.a. is main concern isn't safety but self preservation now the crux of this argument is that the t.s.a. continually refuses to allow individual airports to hire private screeners in order to move people through the lines quicker also out this month the administration has agreed to contract the national academy of sciences to study the health effects x. ray scanners have on passengers senator susan collins and others want to know if
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radiation emitted by these machines could actually cause cancer so to pray down the latest information i was joined by a roof i can bomb he's a transportation policy analyst at the reason foundation and i started off by asking him if he was surprised by the first reports findings. i make it well first of all thanks thanks for having me on basically i would say not i think this is not what most passengers expected from the t.s.a. and i don't think that a lot of people are probably all that surprised i will say that when we look at the contract you know the airport screenings what happened there is in early two thousand and eleven john pistole who's the head of the t.s.a. had gone ahead and announced that he didn't see any advantage to contracting the screening he actually thought that the government government could do a better job in the t.s.a. screeners were fine and so that basically put an end to all contracted screening for a while now thankfully earlier this year when congress passed the latest f.a.a.
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federal aviation administration bill that was actually changed and so they can resume screening cut private screening but it's still quite challenging to get it accomplished so what the f.a.a. have been full of private employers in an airport flying to hire private private security screeners. it's it's really hard to figure out i would say it's probably more political you have certain union issues you have other issues in terms of control then really anything based on analytics if you look at the reports the private screening is actually typically cheaper than the government and even the f.a.a. i think the government has its own report that said it was three percent higher but i believe o.m.b. or g.a.o. one of the federal agencies did a report and basically said that was incorrect it's actually cheaper so from a cost benefit there's really there's really no issue and we know that the screening is better we know that the federal screeners have actually had problems detecting bomb detecting other things and of course it seems like every time you're
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in an airport there's another issue with them doing something improper to passengers that are on those airplanes and we do know that they one of the things that private employers to say is that they gave private employees would be held to higher standards but as you just mentioned it might not necessarily be about cost is it fair to say that it's more about competition or is it about competition i think it is i think it's about competition and i think it's about one other thing how it's structured right now you have the t.s.a. is basically the ones making the guidelines about the screening in the ones actually doing the screening so it's kind of like they're serving as a judicial agency and a legislative agency at the same time and it's really a con a conflict of interest if they simply made the rules and had someone else follow them that would be to me a much better procedure and in addition to having competition which i think is necessary you'd actually have two different two different entities so perhaps
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a better screening process as well all right and this report makes it saying seem as if the t.s.a. is more concerned with the south than with the airport security can you think of any policies that would force that or refute that argument will. based on the based on the research that i've seen i really can't i actually did a piece for in terms of the atlanta hartsfield jackson airport which is the largest passenger airport in the world and basically a lot of the comments i get back were things things that really had nothing to do with it so from a factual viewpoint again unless you're talking talking about certain union issues talking about control issues there's no factual reason why these private contractors are not better do you think it would allow for more things to slip through the cracks having competition having some people and some organizations and screening people this way and other screen people this way with this machine. i don't because i think if there are already guidelines for how screening should be
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conducted and i think we could improve those guidelines and make them firmer basically what the t.s.a. would still be in charge of this they would still be in charge of reviewing the screening and making sure that the companies that have carried them out are carrying the map scuse me are still living up to the standards and what specified and assuming they're doing them which which is what they do now in these private airports in places like san francisco that have this privatized meaning there really shouldn't be an issue because you've got a multiple check you've got an entity carrying out the screening and then another entity making sure that the screening is actually being conducted correctly all right let's talk now about these x. ray machines the government spent millions upon millions of dollars on these machines to spite an outcry some privacy advocates i mean are these machines any better at what's at what their job is or could they actually cause cancer as some are trying to figure out. you know we really don't know most of the evidence we've seen seems to lean away from them causing cancer but obviously the fact that
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they're starting them again indicates the fact there is still that possibility and obviously even if it's a small possibility that's not a very comforting thought especially to frequent travelers i would also say. it's more of a type of the problem with how they're doing the security you can get all of these great machines but basically the problem with the airports is backed security meaning bence's waterways people getting items that are prohibited onto the plane that way slipping them across to people who are loading the food service the problem is not necessarily people taking liquids through security but we've really addressed that so much that i think these other issues are more important and so the screening machines i don't think they're necessary and i if they cost a lot of money i really don't think they're cost effective solution one i think i want to ask you about is that the f.d.a. johns hopkins medical school and the army public health command have already done these these surveys these studies and they found that the levels of radiation were
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within the allowed range so can i really expect the the findings of this study to be any different. i don't think so i think the findings of the radiation probably are in the allowed range and the only exception would be if if you literally traveled every day and there's very few people like that and even there i think they're ok but i think the greater the greater issues in the health concerns is just is this the best way to do security and if you're going to spend this amount of money what could you do and clearly to me you could be doing a lot better than this current system and we only have about a minute left but your transportation policy analyst when you're traveling what kind of secrets do you have that you can give to our travelers watching the show for them to get their security lines quicker better. sure basically i do a couple things the first one is i make sure i have all my change keys wallet all the stuff that i know they're going to look for taken out and i go ahead and put that into the bin the second thing is they always like it when you put if you have
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a laptop computer you put separately from your actual travel bag other things that you might be taking an experience and i try to avoid carry ons just because it seems it's more of a pain now obviously when you do that for most airlines you have to pay the twenty five dollars or whatever the c. is to check the baggage but i try to make it is minimal risk it's possible even though ideally i don't think that's the ideal solution but i think that's the way to approach it right now so bottom line travel light five involve transportation policy analyst at the reason foundation that you so much for joining us thanks again for having me that's going to do it for us for this friday before the holidays but between your gift giving and overeating make a little time for us next week we've got a bunch of stories we think you'll find interesting christmas is almost fair and that means twenty manufacturers are making huge profits on the latest and greatest gadgets but before you buy little tommy or sally that remote control helicopter has always wanted there's
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a few things you ought to know like how these toys can be turned into spy technology next week we'll look at the privacy issues that lie under your christmas tree and speaking of technological innovation if there's one thing media stations can't get enough of it's high speed police chases police train for months to be able to maneuver their police cars at high speeds but now some companies are taking the wheel and booting the police officers to the backseat with robot technology none the less so are driverless patrol cars the wave of the future we'll explore. plus after much speculation and criticism president obama has settled on a candidate to fill secretary of state hillary clinton's shoes that man is john kerry who has had a hand in every major foreign policy decision the u.s. has made for years but will senator kerry flip flopping on the wiki leaks issue get in his way more on that next week those are just a few of the stories we have in store for you next week along with more news and in-depth interviews.

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